A Favour For The King – Chapter Six

A Favour For The King – Chapter Six

Monday, May 18, 1925 – Penobscot River, Lincoln:

After our recent shocking encounter it was a very quiet journey upriver.

Having escaped the clutches of Razorshins by the skin of our scalp, we made the short trip to the village of Lincoln sticking as close the middle of the river as possible. Most of those aboard stared off in equally distracted silence; save the Great War vets who found solace in their own special brand of dark humour.  We moored up as darkness descended, but the night brought no new horror or dark sensations.

But where, exactly, were we headed? McGee was sceptical to say the least. Here we were, travelling to Mount Katahdin on the strength of a questionable lead from a scared shopkeeper.  Worse still, we were relying on a magic mushroom induced hallucination from Ed, perhaps the most unstable member of our group.

Our researches had shown that the old Cagle property was nestled in the woods just south of Mount Katahdin. It was there we hoped to pick up a lead on Joe Cagle, Conajinasqua AKA Riverman, Assaminasqua his long dead but possibly reanimated (!?) ancestor and  supposed creator of the creature Razorshins; and Razorshins itself even though our previous encounters with the same beast had shown it to be immune to anything we could throw at it.


Would they really hole up there? It was too obvious wasn’t it? The forest was really big, so surely they’d go somewhere more secretive. Then again Riverman was known to be unstable. Maybe he wasn’t thinking right. Even the usually level headed MacNifey had been affected by his first encounter with creature Razorshins, so who knew what long term exposure might do to a man’s mind.

Anyway, it was the best lead we had so we ran with it.

Leaving Lincoln we again headed north, up along the Penobscot River until we got to the town of Millinocket nestled on the south shore of a really quite picturesque lake of the same name. Nice place for a vacation. Just a shame we were too busy on a manhunt for a violent murderer to properly enjoy ourselves there.

We stopped briefly to replenish our fuel. We also took on some trail rations, climbing supplies and replenished our store of hooch before leaving to traverse the lake to the north shore. We hadn’t been able to harm Razorshins but we had confirmed its insatiable thirst. If we each had a couple of kegs of moonshine we could at least slow it down. So far it had always chosen to drink rather than continue its attack on us. Clearly not much of an edge, but it was something at least.

Lake Millinocket seemed to stretch on forever, the elongated block of Mount Katahdhin shimmering in sparkling reflection on its surface, vast skies looming beyond. As the boat furrowed through the dark deep waters of the lake, the party was visited again by an overwhelming sensation of being watched, just as we had done before we were assailed by those foul night creatures.

Out on Lake Millinocket it was also unseasonably cold, despite being early summer. The clammy mist off the lake creating an oppressive sense of foreboding didn’t help settle our mood either. We all felt that there was something strange about the whole thing but eventually the warm sun had its effect partially dissipating or thinning the mist even if it didn’t disappear completely. Great Bear confirmed that these were very unusual conditions for the time of year.

Monday, May 18, 1925 – North Shore of Lake Millinocket:

By the time we reached the far shore the sun slightly to our left side. But dark foreboding still chilled our souls and spirits were numbed yet more by the unseasonable chill that hung obstinately in the air. Great bear, our native guide looked most troubled of all constantly scanning the countryside ahead of us with a furrowed brow.

Once moored up we took the precaution of removing the spark plug this making the theft of our craft more difficult

As we disembarked as heavily armed as trench infantry, our whispered talk turned to why both River Man and Rose had both dreamed of needing silver bullets! Our experiences had graphically demonstrated to us that it certainly wasn’t for the purpose of taking down Razorshins, which had been impervious to everything thrown at it.

Curiously, once ashore the sensation of being spied upon lessened. Was there some sort of Sigil aboard the craft?

We pressed on, gauging the easiest way to make the ten or so miles to the ruins of the Cagle estate, estimating that it would take 4 hours or so. The going wasn’t that difficult, just uneven with numerous trees limiting the view around us but still relatively easy. We’d been in far worse terrain in France.

Vast clouds of seasonal midges swarmed around us greeting their new visitors with far too keen an interest. It took some time trudging through the wet grass slough before we made the resumption of the tree line.

No sooner did we make the trees then we heard the roar of a grizzly bear. From the sound of the roaring, Great Bear believed that the animal has been injured and would most likely attack anything it came across. We were prepared.

So as it came across us at a full charging gallop, but with a noticeable hind quarter limp, McGee hit it with a shot from his Mondragon rifle, but it charged on. McNifey then unleashed a short burst from his equaliser, tearing several terminal wounds into the lumbering animal.

On closer examination Great Bear found a barbed arrow in its hind leg….seemingly with the sole cruel purpose of aggravating the poor beast! It appeared this mischief may well have been carried out to cause our whereabouts to be known. The arrow looked to be Panawahpskek in origin, but Great Bear deemed it highly unlikely that any of his tribe would be this far north.

Mount Katahdin was the northern most extent of Panawahpskek tribal lands.

We followed the bear’s bloody trail, mindful of traps, seeking the place where it had been first wounded. Rose reminded us that bears had incredible olfactory senses so were thus expert trackers.

Lake Millinocket and Mount Katahdin
Lake Millinocket and Mount Katahdin

A heavy mist rolled down from Mount Katahdhin, and the mercury took another unseasonable drop. We huddled deeper into our winter clothing but it wasn’t just the cold that was making us shiver.

Ed scanned the nearby area. With a remarkably keen eye he spotted some disturbed leaves which revealed an enormous bear trap. It was a formidable device with vicious serrated jaws that clacked together with incredible speed and power, but thankfully they snapped on thin air.

Thinking quickly, Ed mocked a scream of agony to draw out our enemy…

At that moment Great Bear spied movement but almost simultaneously he was hit in the shoulder He dropped to the forest floor severely injured.

Cherry saw a muzzle flash from over 150’ away, quite a shot in this uneven terrain….but we failed to spot our assassin.  Our attacker again demonstrated his skill as another superb shot rang out narrowly missing Rose despite the fact that she had taken cover behind a tree.

McNifey and Cherry swung right while McGee started to swing left. The pincer began to close.

Ed fired at the second muzzle flash. He was confident his aim was good and that he seemed to make contact but there was no accompanying shout of pain.

Could this be Cagle? He certainly had the marksmanship.

Ed looked at the bullet hole in the tree near Rose…it was much larger than a normal calibre round.

The shooter was incredibly well hidden. They were also able to seemingly shoot at us through an impenetrable hide. The next shot was aimed at Cherry but missed. Again looking out for the flash, Cherry returned a rifle round. He too seemed to hit the target.  MacNifey fired a brace and also appeared to make contact. All the while McGee continued to circle around.

The boys laid down covering fire. As McGee flanked the shooting position he almost stumbled across another man trap.

But McNifey’s suppression fire finally paid off. Cagle emerged from his hide, but immediately on doing so, was greeted by a Mondragon shot. It seemed to stagger but not drop Cagle. Then a second shot looked to blow the foetid woodsman’s head from his shoulders.

Approaching the hide we found yet more traps.

In the hide Cagle had a Panawahpskek recurve bow with barbed arrows, 3 Mason jar quarts of moonshine and a bolt action scoped rifle and cross cut bullets.  However we did not find the mysterious knife artefact.

Cagle looked strangely pale with mottled, oddly pockmarked skin, but the wounds from our gun shots only a few days ago had healed which was impossible. How on earth could he still have been alive after taking such punishment? Days earlier Ed had shot him in the head nearly killing him, then, just as a foul black serpentine beast had been carrying him away from the boat; McGee had delivered a shotgun blast right into his back at point blank range.

McGee decided that half the reward for Cagle was perfectly acceptable. He requested that Ed decapitated him. The King will have to make do and mend!

Checking the surrounding undergrowth, MacNifey located Cagle’s trail so we started to follow its meander. It led us towards Mount Katahdin.

We continued walking until the late afternoon. Despite being several hours on beneath bright warm summer sun, the mist had failed to dissipate. The clammy fingers of cold were gratefully kept abroad by the winter clothing we had brought.

Only in the evening did the mist eventually fade revealing before us ruined walls several miles off amongst the scattered trees.

As we approached we saw that it was the ruins of a quite sizeable country mansion that was in an advanced state of decay. We made a circuit checking for tracks and traps. There were masses of the hallucinogenic mushrooms in the grounds.

As we got nearer the ruin, MacNifey was, without notice, struck down with a fit of vomiting and dry retching. Cherry soon felt the same way. Unable to walk they were barely able to crawl away from the scene of their affliction. Only after ten minutes of painful heaving did their symptoms finally subside.

Eventually we continued on our circuit of the perimeter. McGee spotted an unusual looking weathered stone marker stone sited exactly cardinal East. On closer inspection there was another to the North.  Were these the source of the odd vomiting event?

Examining them further we saw that the stones looked to have been moved into position quite recently – judging by the fresh earth in their vicinity. They clearly had some protective power. We found two more where we expected – both exactly due West and due south.

Unusually the stones looked Panawahpskek in origin. Rose observed faint symbols on them. They were also far, far older than the house. Rose wondered if they had been removed from the burial ground where her dig site had been. But why would they have been brought this far and by whom?

Such a barrier would have explained why no animals or people had previously disturbed the burial site.

McGee also chose to test whether the stones made a protective ring….ten minutes of vomiting later persuaded him that they did.

We formulated a plan to try and move one of the stones using ropes. After some effort we managed to drag the Western one aside.  Immediately the feeling of nausea abated.

MacNifey, McGee and Cherry now approached the house, where they spotted another bear trap beneath a decayed window.  Suddenly Vincenzo felt the familiar static charge of a summoned creature emerging into our world as a Shambler reached out two cruelly misshapen inhuman arms out from the void with bestial claws looking to drag away poor Cherry to where we knew not.

Its left arm struck nothing but rotting plaster wall but it’s right claw struck Cherry full in the chest almost splitting him in two. He dropped to the ground. MacNifey spun around firing a short burst into this horror. By a miracle he dropped the foul creature, allowing McGee to bring back Morello from the very precipice of death. McGee managed to stabilise his stricken comrade but Vincenzo could not be moved.

MacNifey seized the moment to step forward to face whoever has summoned the beast, from within the house. As he did so the ravaged, emaciated figure of Riverman revealed himself on the upper floor.

Riverman: “Be gone from here…or I will destroy you!”

He held out a palm towards MacNifey, but before the Panawahpskek outcast could unleash a nefarious spell MacNifey unleashed another burst of fire. The initial bullets were inexplicably deflected away but following shots thudded into his midriff slaying Riverman for the second time. He dropped 12’ to the ground in a thudding heap of bone necklace and worn leather moccasins. The leering look on his grimaced emaciated face spoke of a terrible lunacy.

Ed and Rose approached the house deftly sidestepping another bear trap.

MacNifey took to examining a tent that was set up within the decrepit interior of the building – it revealed Indian trappings and copious amounts of mushrooms. Yet as moved around the interior   the unnerving sense of being watched returned.

McGee continued to administer first aid to his Italian buddy. Perhaps Rose could do more for him.

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